Carolina Gavet (CGgourmet founder).
I’ve been working in the premium chocolate industry since 2005, following the cacao bean from cacao farm to table. I spent more than seven years at Valrhona Chocolate, a fine chocolate manufacture from France developing products for USA along with the French team, during those seven years, not only I learned about pastry techniques and chocolate innovation, I discovered the fascinating art of chocolate making and how the origins of the cacao beans define the flavor profile of each chocolate.
Thanks to Valrhona I had the opportunity to attend the Pastry World cup in Lyon, France for the first time in 2005; the experience gave me a new perspective on an ancient product: the chocolate. Since then my view about all you can do with chocolate changed forever. From sophisticated plated desserts, to entremets with more than 10 flavors in just one piece (in perfect balance), to giant chocolate showpiece sculptures, “I learned that a good chocolate bar, bonbon or chocolate dessert is more than just flavors, it also includes aromas, textures, ingredients and the art and dedication each chocolatier and pastry chef puts into each presentation. Pastry chefs and chocolate makers and chocolatiers are the true artists”. I’ve been lucky to attend 8 Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie in Lyon.
I also worked 4 years as head of Marketing, Research and Product development for USA at Chocolate Stars USA, a company that markets fine chocolate and brands. Under this position I traveled to many countries in Europe, Central and South America to find innovative sweet creations crafted by select producers, working with them very close to perfect a recipe, create the right packaging and develop a sales\marketing plan and communication strategy to launch the product in the U.S.
I left the Corporate life in 2018 to open my own Online Boutique CGgourmet.com where I can sell premium chocolates and other confections I find in my travels, trade shows and through the people I met in this fascinating industry. I research and travel to bring the best chocolate and confections to my customers.
My best experiences in the “chocolate expert” lifestyle were when I visit several cacao plantations.
Cacao trees thrive only in the equatorial band, which includes West Africa, Central and South America and Indonesia, these are the world’s tropical regions.
These regions are not the easiest place to travel, primitive roads, deep vegetation, bugs grow bigger and of course, mosquitos are everywhere. I traveled to cacao farms in Costa Rica, Peru, Belize and Mexico. “I recall one trip in Mexico that was particularly difficult, it rained several days before I arrived, which left the road and the plantation a muddy mess, when I got back to the hotel I counted many mosquito bites and I threw my favorite pair of sneakers, the ones I was wearing, in the trash. But I was so happy and fascinated with the experience and how much I learned after spending the day in that magical place: The Cacao Plantation.
To complement my knowledge about chocolate in 20I1 I trained at the Court of Master Sommelier and The WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust). I create all the chocolate descriptions, wine, spirits and cheese pairings for CGgourmet.com. I also do seminars for our customers who wish to learn about chocolate and pairings.